Septic Inspections

How a Septic System Works

All the water from the house, whether it’s from the sink, shower, toilet, or other water source, flows into the septic tank. The job of the tank is to trap the solids and let the cleaner water pass through to the drainage area. The tank needs to be pumped to remove these solids. If not maintained, they will build up and escape into the drainage area.

The water then goes to a distribution box (D-box), which evenly distributes the water to each drainfield or drywell. This box can become unleveled, pushing all the water to one particular drainfield, causing premature failure.

Drainfields are ditches approximately 60-100’ long, and differ in size and depth. A drainfield may be dug 6’ deep, then filled with 4’ of stone. The pipe runs from the distribution box to the drainfield pipe, which is a drain tile that has holes in the bottom. The water drips out of the pipe and into the stone. This stone is limestone, and it cleans the water as it passes into the ground and water table.

 Potential Problems

  • Metal Tanks
  • Leaking Concrete Tanks
  • Slow drainage
  • Heavy solids in tanks
  • Faulty Pumps
  • Faulty Floats
  • Faulty Alarms
  • Broken Baffles
  • Full or nearly full drainfields and drywells
  • Unleveled distribution boxes
  • Clogged or broken lines
howsepticworks pumping

We currently offer a Septic Evaluation and a Camera Septic Inspection.

During a Septic Evaluation we perform the following

  • Locate and access the septic tank.
  • Determine if tank is composed of concrete, metal or fiberglass.
  • Determine if the water level in tank is exactly where it should be.
  • Determine if the back baffle is intact.
  • Check flow from house to the tank.
  • If the septic system has a pump chamber then the pump, floats and alarms will be checked for functionality.
  • Probe the outside of the septic tank to check for cracks/voids in the tank.
  • Attempt to locate the absorption area using county records and a probe to try and determine if the absorption area is functioning or failing.
  • Septic pumping is NOT a part of our standard diagnostic. In the case of home inspections, pumping can easily be scheduled concurrently if required by the buyer. However, under normal circumstances, we suggest that the inspection be performed prior to scheduling a pumping. This saves the buyer money by eliminating a surcharge for pumping the tank, and in most cases it will not yield any value to the customer. If high levels of solids are found during the inspection, the report will reflect this. Only in extreme and rare cases will a septic pumping help in the inspection process. In addition, the outside of the septic tank is probed to ensure there are no cracks in the walls of the tank. A tank should never be pumped within a month prior to a septic inspection without notifying the inspector.

$295 Septic Evaluation – Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard & Anne Arundel Counties

$325 Septic Evaluation – Cecil, Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, Prince George’s & Queen Anne’s Counties

$350 Septic Evaluation – Saint Mary’s & Washington Counties

*(includes 1’ of digging) $75 per foot thereafter


During a Camera Septic Inspection we perform the following:

Upgrade your septic evaluation to a Camera Septic Inspection. This is the most comprehensive septic inspection available! Plan for 2-3 hours. We will perform a standard septic evaluation with the addition of using a fiber optic camera to view and record the front and back plumbing lines to learn about potential clogging points. The inspection includes excavating the back end of the tank by hand and exposing the distribution box when accessible.* A written report with a detailed map and dimensions will be provided within 24 hours once payment has been received. A video will be provided via Dropbox.

*The back end of the tank and distribution box must be within 3ft of grade and do not have obstructions above their access lids.


 Why are we offering a second type of septic inspection using a camera?

 Our regulators have requested that this type of inspection be offered in order to excavate and view the D-box. There is value in it as it’s a real time snap shot.

  • It’s always good to have options. This is the most comprehensive and thorough septic inspection available.
  • We have had increased demand from clients. It allows us to better locate and determine the actual size of the system.
  • Most counties would require you to do this type of inspection before issuing a permit for additional structures like a deck, pool, home addition, etc.

What kind of camera are we using?

It’s a SeeSnake fiber optic camera. It’s industrial grade, very high tech with 200 feet of fiber optic cable.

 What kind of problems can be detected by using a camera?

 Root infiltration, dips or breaks in the lines are a few of the problems that can be detected only using a camera.

$450 Camera Septic Inspection- Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard & Anne Arundel Counties

$495 Camera Septic Inspection- Cecil, Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, Saint Mary’s & Washington Counties